Tuesday ยท July 11, 2023
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests: Top Horse Trails | July 2023
Author: Admin

Top Horse Trails in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests


Nestled in the heart of Virginia, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests offer an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. With miles of scenic trails, horse enthusiasts are in for a treat with the diverse terrain and breathtaking views. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a beginner, these top horse trails in the forest will leave you enchanted and longing for more.


1. Glenwood/Pedlar Ranger District

Located in the Glenwood/Pedlar Ranger District, this trail system offers horseback riders a vast network of trails to explore. One popular trail is the Browns Gap Horse Trail, featuring a 14-mile loop that winds through the serene beauty of the forest. Along the way, riders can marvel at cascading waterfalls, meandering streams, and panoramic vistas from the mountaintops. For a longer adventure, connect with the St. Mary's Wilderness Trail, where you can immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of this protected wilderness area.


2. Pedlar River Trail

Another notable trail in the Glenwood/Pedlar Ranger District is the Pedlar River Trail. Spanning 8.3 miles, this trail follows the scenic Pedlar River, offering riders a chance to witness the river's gentle flow and admire the surrounding lush vegetation. The trail is relatively flat and well-maintained, making it an ideal choice for riders of all skill levels. Be prepared to encounter various wildlife during your ride, including deer, wild turkey, and a variety of birds, adding to the allure of this trail.


3. Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

Located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, the Comers Creek Horse Trail is a must-visit for horse lovers. Spanning over 18 miles, this trail takes riders through dense forests, open meadows, and picturesque mountain landscapes. The trail offers excellent camping options, with designated horse campsites where riders can rest and rejuvenate before continuing their adventure. Wildlife sightings are common along the trail, and if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the iconic wild ponies that roam freely in the area.


4. Warm Springs District

The Warm Springs District offers horseback riders access to numerous trails that wind through the breathtaking beauty of the national forest. One popular choice is the Shawvers Run Horse Trail, a 6.4-mile loop that takes riders through dense hardwood forests and along babbling creeks. The trail is moderately challenging, with some steep sections, but the effort is rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Pack a picnic lunch and take advantage of the several picnic spots along the trail for a delightful mid-ride break.


5. New Castle District

Situated in the New Castle District, the Craig Creek Horse Trail offers riders a chance to explore the forest's scenic wonders. The 11.3-mile trail meanders alongside picturesque streams, through lush meadows, and across ridge tops adorned with vibrant wildflowers. As you ride, keep an eye out for local wildlife, including white-tailed deer and black bears. If you're looking for a shorter ride, an alternate 4.5-mile loop is available, which still provides a fantastic experience of the area's natural beauty.


Before embarking on your horseback adventure, it's essential to obtain a trail map from the appropriate ranger district office or visitor center. Additionally, be sure to adhere to trail etiquette and leave no trace, as preserving the forest's pristine beauty is crucial for future visitors to enjoy.


The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests offer equestrians a paradise of diverse trails and stunning landscapes to explore. From leisurely rides along tranquil rivers to challenging treks through mountainous terrain, these top horse trails provide a memorable and captivating experience for riders of all levels. So, saddle up, breathe in the fresh forest air, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of this incredible national forest.